We at Film Hub South West are thrilled to see that Plymouth Arts Centre, one of our longest standing members, has announced that the future of this unique independent cinema is secure, after months of negotiation, and it will relocate to a new home, doubling in size.
A new 118-seat auditorium is to be built in Plymouth College of Art and will open to the public on 10th January 2019.
It will continue to be run by Plymouth Arts Centre’s cinema programmer Anna Navas and the team from Plymouth Arts Centre, who will take special care to bring the quality and breadth of films, friendly atmosphere and grown-up cinema experience with them.
Moving from the Looe Street address is emotional for many people, but the fact is that it is no longer fit for purpose. Audiences are the heart of Plymouth Arts Centre and the thing that drives it forward. Chair of Plymouth Arts Centre’s Board of Trustees, Andrew Brewerton
The 61-seat cinema in Looe Street enjoyed a record year in 2017, with nearly 18,000 admissions across 135 films. Its live event cinema, film festival, and regular talks by internationally renowned film makers such as director Ben Wheatley, and Oscar winners Roger Deakins and Mia Bays continue to build in popularity.
Plymouth Arts Centre recently showcased yet another sell-out summer season of Open Air Cinema at iconic waterfront locations, Tinside Lido, Mount Edgcumbe and Royal William Yard and plans to continue to do so in the future.
Plymouth Arts Centre has always been an important bastion of independent film culture in Plymouth and the South West providing access for residents and communities to the rich range and diversity of world cinema. At a time when we are seeing growth in audiences and strategic investment for independent film it is exciting to hear of these plans for Plymouth Arts Centre’s development which will secure the future of independent cinema in the city. Mark Cosgrove, Cinema Curator at Watershed in Bristol and BFI FAN Film Hub Lead Organisation for the South West added
In recent years, Anna Navas and the cinema team from Plymouth Arts Centre have developed a national reputation as champions of gender equality in the film industry, as an early adopter of The F-Rating and Birds Eye View’s Reclaim the Frame. They have also taken the initiative in introducing younger audiences to independent cinema by introducing a popular £4 ticket price for those aged 25 and under.
But the withdrawal of the Arts Council England’s NPO funding for the Arts Centre in April 2018 put extreme pressure on all areas of the charity’s organisation. The new plans are the result of months of work by the Board of Trustees and partners to create a sustainable future for the organisation.
The Board has taken the difficult decision to sell the Arts Centre’s Looe Street building. The resources are not in place to continue to deliver both the cinema and the visual arts programme, and given the current circumstances, the Trustees have reluctantly reached an unavoidable decision to halt the visual arts programme for the time being. PAC Home, the centre’s highly regarded network of artists and arts professionals, is developing plans to continue independently.
Plymouth College of Art shares many fundamental values with Plymouth Arts Centre and we have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship spanning numerous years. We welcome this opportunity to continue to collaborate with them, to enrich the arts and cultural fabric of the South West. We’re confident that the new, enhanced space will improve the viewing experience for cinema-goers, and hope that together our shared resources will enable Plymouth Arts Centre to continue their mission to bring independent cinema to the city. Tim Bolton, Vice Principal at Plymouth College of Art
The cinema will continue to operate at its current home in Looe Street until the beginning of December 2018 with an exciting programme full of the latest releases and arthouse films scheduled for you to enjoy.
Plymouth Arts Centre will be launching a major fundraising campaign to support the cinema. If you would like to donate or become a friend, visit www.plymouthartscentre.org/support-us for details.
A regional talent mixer event for South West writers, directors and producers
Cinema Curator at Watershed, Mark Cosgrove, reports back on the highs and lows of films screened in the last week